Retirement Month One

Day One and Day Two were great as Hubby and I settled into our little bungalow in Venture Out in Mesa, Arizona for our extended holiday and the beginnings of testing out retirement life.

We’d arrived in Mesa on Dec 31st at the end of a sunny day, with the sky all aglow as the deepening lemon turned to crimson then to a mixture of muddy brown which turned into the blackness of night as the city lights twinkled on all around.

It was magical.  I wasn’t driving so I could absorb the beauty of the evening as we approached our first destination: food.

We’d changed plans midstream, mid-driving if I want to be factual, instead of spending an evening out celebrating New Year’s Eve and eating in an Arizona restaurant – a specific restaurant as Hubby had declared many days previous that he wanted to eat ribs from a place which is close by our soon to be home for the next three months.

It’s his retirement, and it was his food craving…and, it was easy to accommodate him because I wasn’t expected to cook a thing.

Besides, I like ribs too.

We pulled into the parking lot and quickly pushed our way inside to order our takeout dinner of juicy ribs and beans, potato and Hubby says he ordered Mac n Cheese too.

A side note here, Hubby is obsessed with Mac n Cheese – there is a restaurant in our new town which caters to Mac n Cheese.  We will be going there soon for sure.

The entire restaurant was full of celebrating New Years people.

Me, being me and I’m not sure why, but I noticed what appeared to be newbies, a man and a woman seated at a table just inside the entrance, because they had picked up the catering menu instead of the restaurant menu. They had come in right after us, sat at an empty table and were looking around.  I had already perused two menus – thus my vast knowledge and my following helpful gesture.

I pointed them to the correct menu which was sitting on a little stand up at the counter by the door.

As I was standing near the seated couple, a man from another table leans over, taps me on the shoulder and tells me, “We are ready to order here too.”

I turn around and say, “Pardon me?”

He tells me again, “We are ready to order here.”

I laugh and tell him that I’m just here to order dinner myself and was helping someone else with a menu selection.

Of course, much later a bunch of fun ideas came that I could have taken his order and submitted it. It would have been a blast but no, I was tired and hungry, and the brain wasn’t thinking that fast.  I could have gotten an instant job and helped fund this wild adventure Hubby and I are embarking on. Well, not really…being Canadian, I’m not about to earn any money and I certainly don’t want a job.

I have a job.  It is called getting used to Hubby and his retirement.

Next, off we went to a grocery store to get some quick supplies for the morning – cream for my coffee being the most important item which makes for a more pleasant wake up experience for both of us oldie  retirees – me because I got what I wanted and for Hubby because he wouldn’t be asked to go to the store or a coffee shop right after he cracked his eyes open.

To be continued…

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He’s Retired, so now what do I do with him…

Friday the 13th  2019 was the last day of work for Hubby.  Ross is his name but I do like the term Hubby so this is what I will likely stick with.

I’m not into the whole superstition thing but it is quite amazing how certain things learned from childhood hang around, like it being a bad luck day, don’t walk in front of a black cat, throw salt over your left shoulder or right, step over a crack or you’ll break your mothers back and that is all supposed to ward off bad things.

I grew up with all that vast knowledge, which didn’t mean much then, and even less now but someone has made mention of the date of Hubby’s retirement and that is what triggered all the memory quotes.

Well, no bad luck events took place and obviously Hubby didn’t take any notice of the date either. It was all about the dates lining up for the best possible scenario for holidays which began Friday and extending into January 23, 2020 which will be the official retirement date.

It was also all about dates and taxes.

Hubby had his farewell work event, cards and gifts given, hugs and best wishes and a boot out the door. Done.

Actually, he was well respected and will be missed by those who were supported by him and with those with whom he worked. Hubby assisted people in crisis, taught workshops on grief, loss and resiliency and emotional first aid…and much more. I wasn’t there and knew very few of ‘his people’ so will just leave it at that.

He’s taken his gift of new binoculars and packed them for our upcoming trip and is waiting for a new piece of luggage which may or may not arrive before we leave.

One of the gifts he received from his closest colleague is a wooden plaque of one of hubby’s favorite quotes, “Anyone who willingly enters into the pain of a stranger is truly a remarkable person” by Henri J.M. Nouwen. It sits prominently on our fireplace mantle.

We, as in me, our daughter TL, our son Ra and our daughter in law Ca, had our own event,  a family pizza making night and gave hubby some new bike shorts and a snazzy shirt… nice gift but really it is a motivational device to get him out of the house and staying active.

He likes bike riding so it won’t be a new experience – he will just look a lot better doing it.

If I know him… and I do, he will find some random patch and sew it or glue it onto his shirt.  It will be some gleaming adoration for the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team.

Since Friday….

Packing for our holiday.

Playing pickleball.

Packing for our holiday.

Shopping for Christmas gifts.

Packing for our holiday.

Hubby – Seeing the doctor for an ongoing (4 months) sinus infection, getting x-rays and blood-work done.

Pickleball workshop for people from Hubby’s work environment. That was fun. I and two of our pickleball friends assisted with reigning in the keener’s and encouraging the shyer ones.

Arranging plans for looking after our beloved Thomas the Cat…upcoming Vet appointment to get an anal gland expression done. Just imagine that for a minute.

The list for cleaning the house is growing…we have a person moving in and well, the house needs to be presentable.

There are still ten days until departure and events to attend, appetizer and drinks, friends to see, annual 24th extended family dinner and gift exchange, one more pair of baby booties to crochet, likely a last minute gift to buy, our immediate family breakfast, gift exchange and dinner, then our main tidy and pack day and we will be off…

But first, Hubby doesn’t know this yet. I have arranged a date for us. We are going for a manicure and a pedicure. This is all so self-serving of course.

Hubby will be switching shoes soon for flip flops and I may be sitting next to his feet on a lounge chair. I want to like what I see.

 

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Countdown is on…

So, it seems like a lazy, slow and rainy Saturday afternoon but at this house there is a countdown happening. With the countdown an endlessly long to-do list keeps updating itself.

In FIVE work days hubby is retiring. Just letting that statement sit there and I’m allowing it to percolate in my brain.

In trying not to panic…because where am I going to put him – as his office belongings are slowing taking over a mostly under used second bedroom space in our home.

This retirement process has been building for quite some time- the first discussions being, “Are you kidding? No way!”, to, “Oh, okay…”, with hours and hours of chats in between.

It’s rather exciting and obviously unknown at this point.

Plans for Christmas meals, gift buying and house cleaning in preparation for a holiday are underway and my mind swirls with details…

I like my alone morning time, he spends his days with the multitudes of people.

I enjoy quiet (he likes a radio on), I open the curtains, he may or may not get around to it, will he still kindly make my coffee then quietly leave the house 😊, is he going to expect lunch at home, are we going to go ‘everywhere’ together, do I have to invite him along when I take myself out for breakfast…do we report all our activities to each other…and on and on it goes.

How goes it for others…you out there?

Whats worked and not worked.

Come check it out sometime over the next few months-pretty sure its going to be a a creative journey.

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Facing Fears and Trying New Things

 

The idea of creating sixty-five activities or events came as I looked at a selfie picture on my phone, just before a walk over a bridge.

My husband Ross and I were camping at Whistler Mountain this summer with our son and his wife and one days’ adventure was to go on the gondolas and chair lifts then cross the recently finished suspension bridge called the Cloudraker Skybridge.

Check out whistlerblackcomb.com

 

Photo of me…

IMG_8799…just before taking the first steps onto the bridge.

 

 

As I’m not a lover of heights I was a bit nervous but determined to show a brave face and enjoy the trek.

Not quite a quarter of the way over I heard a lady say, “I think that’s far enough” and she turned back. I agreed, said, “I think so too” and was about to follow her when I realized others were also hanging onto the rail. Perhaps they weren’t gripping with all ten fingers like me and moaning quite as loud, but we were making progress as we inched along.

With my son appearing behind me and talking close to my ear, each step was an encouragement to succeed, being told I was doing well and that I indeed could do this. I wasn’t sure I believed him, but I kept walking and trying not to see through spaces in the slotted steel plank to the earth far below. I was simply trusting the massive structure to hold me and listened to the sound of my son’s voice.

Arriving to the safe side, a platform with a solid base…well, a solid wood floor with waist high railings, perched atop a leveled surface on the top of a mountain. I was able to take a deep breath and enjoy the view of the beautiful valley all around me.

I was verbally thankful that the next stage of development was not finished yet – a glass bottomed view point which will be just another several steps beyond the safe platform.

That is not on my bucket list of things to do or conquer.

My next concern was that eventually I would need to go back over the suspension bridge as there was no other option.

I overheard a girl about 10 years old telling the adult near by that in no way was she going back over that bridge again. I wanted to encourage the adult to call for a helicopter to come get the girl and that I’d offer to go along for the ride but knew the possibility wasn’t likely to happen.

And so, we set out…I hovered my left foot over the solid platform while I grabbed at the cold steel railing with my two hands again and waited, waited while my body and brain were synced up and then allowed my foot to drop down onto the walkway.

We walked forward and left the girl behind – not knowing how her people would get her moving.

On the firm ground of safety, I was euphoric.  I can’t say I enjoyed the journey but I can say I did the walk successfully and am proud of myself.

Reflecting on the photo and the trek across suspension bridge I’ve come up with the plan of exploring sixty-five new adventures over the next year to celebrate a birthday of the same number.

I’ve done the math and have included the suspension bridge as my first event. There will be sixty-four more at this time next year. It seems to work out to roughly one new item to explore, touch, feel, go to, do or experience per week. I may have to expand them or bunch them up but the goal is to manage sixty-five new things in the next year.

Come back and see what this official senior citizen is doing.

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